Chamber Music NW's Winter Festival is the Cure for Short Days and Dark Nights

Promising 15 "thrilling" masterpieces spread across five concerts, Artistic Director David Shifrin kicks off the annual festival with Beethoven and concludes with Brahms. Our preview has more.

By Ramona DeNies January 22, 2015

For 44 years, Chamber Music Northwest has filled concert halls across Portland with the strains of woodwinds, strings, horns, and keys. Last year, the internationally-renowned presenter launched a new festival just when we most needed those sweet sounds: deep in the heart of winter.

This year's second anual Winter Festival starts on Jan 27 and promises 15 "thrilling masterpieces" over five days. Grab a subscription if your evenings avail and your classical music appetite is epic. Should your options be more limited, despair not! We've got you covered with three equally grand choices.

The Dover Quartet

Opening Night: Beethoven's Inner World

Tuesday, Jan 27 at 7:30 pm, Alberta Rose Theatre 

Over the course of Beethoven's life—from his early-career Sonata in F Major for Horn and Piano, Op. 17, to String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127 (composed two years before his death)—the increasingly deaf composer of necessity turned inward for inspiration. Mining this irony for CMNW's festival opener are members of Trio Valtorna, the fresh-faced Dover Quartet, and long-time festival favorites Opus One. 
The more you know: Two members of Opus One raise champion Hungarian Vizsla dogs on the side.

Dover and Friends, a benefit recital in support of the Protégé Project
Friday, Jan 30 at 7:00 pm, Disjecta Contemporary Art Center

The angular art space serves as the venue for a concert that reunites the award-winning Dover Quartet with early mentors Steven Tenenbom (on viola) and Peter Wiley (cello). Also picking up her wand for the three-part performance (which draws on string works from Shubert and Mozart) is Oregon Symphony Concertmaster Sarah Kwak. 
The more you know: String-plucker and bartender-about-town Matt Mount (formerly of bluegrass band the Dickel Brothers) will provide concert-side whiskey tastings.


DvorakDohnányi, and Brahms
Sunday, Feb 1 at 1:00 pm, Lincoln Performance Hall

Chamber Music NW Artistic Director Daid Shifrin joins Kwak, Opus One, and Tro Valtorna for the Festival's closing concert. On the playbill: an imposing sextet from Hungarian pianist Ernst von Dohnányi bookended by two pieces from Antonín Dvorak—his "romantic" Terzetto in C Major for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 74, and his famous 1865 Horn Trio, an elegy to his mother's passing.
The more you know: According to some sources, Brahms wrote his horn trio for the clunky, valveless "Waldhorn" of his youth, as opposed to the newly-modish French horn (which he dismissed as a "brass viola").

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